One of the most heartbreaking things that adult children deal with is an aging parent that refuses in-home care. Not only is it heartbreaking, but it can also be the most frustrating. You’ve heard these stories before. Mom claims she doesn’t need help bathing and dressing, even though she struggles to do it herself. Dad doesn’t want anyone driving him to his appointments even though the doctor recommended it.
You know your parent needs help, but how do you help a resistant loved one get the personalized elder care that they need? On one hand, you don’t want to force the issue until they completely shut down, and on the other, you’re worried that something might happen if they don’t.
Freedom Home Care, Highland Park’s in home care agency, knows that this is a difficult situation. Fortunately, there are a few things our home care experts suggest that could be helpful in starting the conversation with your senior about outside care in a way that feels right to them:
Help Can Be Empowering
Many times older loved ones feel like accepting care diminishes their own power. But if you’re able to help them see that a little help around the house actually frees them up to do more of the things they love, then there’s a good chance they won’t feel like there’s a decrease in personal power.
Figure Out Their Motivation
Boston-based Geriatric care manager, Suzanne Modigliani says to try to determine what’s motivating your mom or dad’s behavior. Is this just a habit they’re displaying? Perhaps there’s a larger underlying issue. Could it just be a fear they’re expressing?
Try To Put Yourself in Their Shoes
Another thing experts recommend is thinking about how it might feel if you thought you were going to lose your independence. Would you also be inclined to push back and resist change? Seeking to understand where they’re coming from allows you to approach the situation with a little more empathy toward your parent.
Listen to Their Concerns
Set aside a day to join your loved one in doing something they like to do. While you’re enjoying the moment and everyone’s defenses are down, ask your mom or dad what concerns them most about aging. This not only helps break the ice, but it also gives you more insight into how your loved one feels about care giving.
Utilize Your Resources
Research different agencies that offer help for adult children with aging parents. An organization like the Area Agency on Aging has trained elder advisers that can help you locate the resources in order to best serve your loved one. These agencies are also there to remind you that you’re not in this alone.
Is This a Battle Worth Fighting?
Donna Cohen, Ph.D. a clinical psychologist and author of “The Loss of Self: A Family Resource for the Care of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders” says to pick your battles. If your parent is not at risk of endangering themselves or anyone else, allow them to make certain decisions about their life. They may in some ways still be capable of taking care of themselves. Make time to sit down with them and decide what those things are.